Broad Vision 4 – Future Human

Getting excited about this year’s upcoming Broad Vision, starting January 2014 with the theme of ‘Future Human’.

Having attended FutureFest and subscribed to the excellent TED via NPR podcast in recent weeks my head has been buzzing with exciting ideas that could fit within the subject, so I thought it’d be a good time to put together a little scrapbook-style blog post to more easily share those ideas with others.

A pair of talks that are at the forefront of my mind are those by Bertolt Meyer [here] and Neil Harbisson [here], both talking about ways in which a physical disability has been turned on it’s head by being used as a spark point for exploring the capabilities of body modifications, a subject that has interested me strongly since the ‘Superhuman‘ exhibition at the Wellcome Collection last year. Meyer raises a particularly interesting question regarding the ‘entitlement and availability’ of body modifications, should the financially able posses priority? And should those with perfectly functioning natural bodies be allowed to ‘upgrade’?

On a similar thread but from a different angle, and presented in a contrasting manner, I think ‘The Entire History of You‘ deserves a mention. The third episode of the first series of the ‘Charlie Brookers’ dark dramas’ explores the integration of technology into our bodies and daily lives, and looks at the potential effects on our relationships.

Taking body modification/customisation to the nth degree, the topic of ‘transcending’ the body is one that interests me greatly, sparked by reading Isaac Asimov’s ‘The Last Question‘ and Philip K. Dick’s ‘Ubik‘. Afraid I’ve got no video-talks on offer on this subject, though if anybody knows any please leave a comment!

Regarding expanding the human lifetime within a natural body, Nina Tandon offers a particularly interesting view on future developments in ‘personalised medicine’ in her TEDtalk, discussing how medicines of the future will be tailored to suit the specific person, hopefully to greater effect and possibly helping to avoid the approaching catastrophe predicted by Sally Davies in her TEDxAlbertopolis talk: ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’.

As a final titbit for now I’d like to conclude with a mention of Zooniverse, which describes itself as ‘home to the internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects’, currently hosting a huge range of interesting projects including a mars weather system research project and a cancer research project, all of which rely on users contributions to make headway and push human collective knowledge further forwards.

Got anything to add to the conversation? Comment below!

Author: Danny Garside

Colour and Imaging Scientist, based in London, UK.

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